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Last updated: January 21, 2021

Medical Records Storage & Filing

high density medical record filing storageIf you have plans to modernize, retrofit, or build a new medical storage area for patient documentation and other administrative records, medical office storage systems are the way to go.

The length of time physicians and hospitals must retain medical records vary by state. For example, in Arizona, hospitals and medical doctors must maintain records for six years. However, in Georgia, medical doctors must keep records for ten years, while hospitals only need to retain them for five years.

Because healthcare facilities and hospitals prioritize caring for patients and ensuring they have enough medications and supplies, it isn't uncommon for administration to overlook medical filing storage systems. For a healthcare facility to operate smoothly, it needs an easily accessible, organized, and secure medical filing area.

Understanding Medical Storage Systems

Medical filing storage systems include business office records, general office supplies, housekeeping materials, patient files, and other non-medical supplies and equipment a healthcare facility needs for operations. That also includes mobile storage solutions. High-density movable storage helps facilities maximize their available space, thus creating ample space for medical filing and other storage.

For example, mobile storage systems work well to accommodate cubbies, doors, drawers, shelves, and more to address a facility's storage needs. These storage systems also mean that facilities can have one aisle instead of static filing cabinets or traditional shelving units that include a fixed number of aisles.

Medical storage systems feature designs that are specifically for:

  • Organizing physical files efficiently and securely
  • Optimizing floor space
  • Reducing access time
  • Meeting all of the facility's standards and regulations

Why Medical Facilities Should Use Office Storage Systems

high density shelving moveaThroughout the United States, insurers and providers spent $812 billion on administrative costs, accounting for 34.2% of the nation's healthcare expenditure. A significant amount of this spending stems from billing, coding, insurance, records, and other medical documentation. Because medical facilities must retain patient records for a specific timeframe following their final visit, that equates to the need for effective office storage systems.

From a small urgent care facility to a sprawling urban hospital, these healthcare and medical facilities need high-density medical storage systems. They depend on these medical filing systems to provide not only the essential organization but also security. These medical storage systems must also save space and place critical supplies close to the patient's point of care.

High-density storage systems offer medical facilities organized and secure solutions for storing patient records and other pertinent documentation. Incorporating these storage solutions into a facility has many advantages, including the following:

  • It can accommodate various access levels
  • Highly secure high-density storage
  • A wide variety of shelving options
  • Many options in controls, end panels, and safety systems

Medical facility administration might have concerns about maximizing available space. Medical filing and storage solutions feature designs that utilize a facility's existing storage space. These units achieve that goal without compromising accessibility. Facilities can use these systems for legal, letter, and large document medical filing requirements.

During installation, these units work well when placed back-to-back to form an island. Facilities can also install them as traditional wall-standing units. If facilities want to take advantage of even more floor space, they can opt for mobile storage systems.

How Medical Filing Storage Systems Improve Efficiency

medical record filing storage systemsBecause medical filing storage systems can create almost twice as much storage capacity, it increases a facility's efficiency. For example, creating additional storage capacity also reduces the number of access aisles to one. When facilities eliminate multiple access points, that means they can repurpose that aisle space for other uses or additional storage.

Maintaining HIPPA compliance is another area where healthcare facilities need to prioritize regarding compliance and efficiency. That means, when these storage systems are in place, there are various locking options and safety features that only allow authorized uses to manage. Incorporating these systems into an existing building design means facilities can control access, protect health information, minimize incidental disclosure, and efficiently safeguard medical records.

That efficiency extends further to a medical facility's need to clean and disinfect every surface. The incorporation of medical filing storage systems is no exception. Because these systems feature powder-coated and stainless steel finishes, their surfaces can stand up to frequent wipedowns and other rigorous cleanings. That feature improves efficiency because workers don't have to worry about damaging surfaces when disinfecting.

Benefits and Features of Medical Storage and Medical Filing

Medical professionals face many challenges regarding keeping track of medical storage and medical filing in today's healthcare industry. Because administrators and other staff members must access and retrieve patient documentation and other records, it's challenging to know specific records' location. That's where the benefit of using medical office storage systems comes into play. Not only is it easy to access documents in high-density storage solutions, but it's also secure and efficient.

Additional benefits include:

  • Maximizing floor space where space is already at a premium
  • Saving search time because everything is visible at a glance
  • Reducing the cost of long-term storage
  • Controlling access to protect sensitive data and other storage
  • Designing systems into existing floor plans

Every medical filing and office storage system has different features depending on its style. For example, if facilities choose units with rotating shelves, workers can access contents from every side. Or, if mobile storage is a priority, then high-density storage cabinets featuring two rows are available. There are also medical filing solutions that feature access controls for between two and seven compartments.

Additional features include:

  • High-density storage for a variety of media types
  • Mobilization for maximizing space
  • Uses up to 60% less storage space than traditional filing cabinets
  • Variety of configurations available to accommodate the individual needs of every facility
  • Easy to assemble and move

How Mobile Storage Systems Benefit the Military

medical storage filing sliding shelvingOne of the United States' largest and most complex healthcare institutions is the Military Health System (MHS). That means the military faces enormous responsibilities regarding acquiring, analyzing, maintaining, retaining healthcare information. That information pertains to the military's active-duty personnel, recruits, and veterans.

Even though treating the patient is the military facility's priority, they must also focus on their record-keeping system. Their medical record-keeping system must remain in compliance with the Force Health Protection. Those guidelines include the following:

  • Ensuring individuals have access to their health data no matter when or where they need care
  • Supporting the record-keeping requirements for administrations offering preventative health care services
  • Facilitating real-time medical supervision for all deployed forces
  • Ensuring there's timely medical supervision for the entire force
  • Providing comprehensive databases supporting epidemiological and outcome studies
  • Maintaining every service member's longitudinal health records from their time or recruitment and extending beyond their discharge.

Technical Specifications and Design

As hospitals and other health care facilities continue to grow, so are the needs for better record-keeping and material handling solutions. It isn't uncommon for medical facilities to turn to in-house engineering teams to address these challenges. Architects and designers provide innovative office storage solutions to individuals in the athletic, educational, legal, medical, and military industries, and more.

General Technical Specifications:

  • Multiple heights and configurations (Example: 10 heights from 29 ½" to 92 ½" for school nursing supply cabinets)
  • Shelving decks supported by steel channels that anchor into the facility's subfloor
  • Built-in safety features that comply with health and occupational safety regulations
  • Configurable for up to five cabinets within each section

Space-Saving and Secure Medical Storage Solutions

Many medical facilities across the country face challenges regarding maximizing and reducing medical storage space. Implementation of office storage systems for medical filing and other medical storage means reducing or eliminating wasted space. In addition to high-density storage systems, sliding shelving is another solution that is affordable and great for smaller record storage areas. The technical specifications for every system vary by height, storage capacity, weight, and more. Here are a couple of medical filing storage examples that are available online:

Model: Sliding File Cabinets Rolling Vertical (Four Post) Filing Shelving 3/2/2 Letter-Size: #SMS-25-T232LT4P72 deep sliding mobile shelves

  • Adjustable shelves: Adjust in vertical 1-1/2" increments
  • Capacity: Shelves rated to hold up to 250 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10'10" Wide x 3'5" Deep x 6'10-3/4" High
  • Opening: 7 Openings (6 Adjustable Shelves)
  • Type: Letter Size (12" Deep) Shelving
  • Uprights: 18 gauge steel construction
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime manufacturer's warranty
  • Weight: 1,372 pounds

Model: 4-Row (Four Post) Sliding Mobile File Shelving, 2/1/1/1 Letter-Size: #SMS-25-Q621LT-4P7 

  • Adjustable shelves: Adjust in vertical 1-1/2" increments
  • Capacity: Shelves rated to hold up to 250 poundsfree revit family download
  • Dimensions: 6'4" Wide x 4'6-1/2" Deep x 6'11-3/4" High
  • Opening: 7 Openings (6 Adjustable Shelves)
  • Type: Letter Size (12" Deep) Shelving
  • Uprights: 18 gauge steel construction
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime manufacturer's warranty
  • Weight: 874 pounds

When medical facilities have expert designers on staff, it's possible to integrate medical filing and other medical storage solutions into existing building designs and floor plans. Implementing these storage solutions in a medical facility involves several architectural and design phases.

Architectural and design phases:

  1. Site evaluation and spec creation
  2. CAD drawings
  3. Presentation of plans
  4. Project integration with existing medical storage and filing systems
  5. Installation of the medical filing and other medical storage systems

Incorporating High-Quality Medical Office Storage Systems

Southwest Solutions Group® is a leader in innovations for designing high-functioning and efficient medical storage and filing systems. Contact one of our expert design professionals at Southwest Solutions by email or call us at 1-866-448-6071. We can help you determine which types of office storage systems are best for your medical facility.

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